As we finished our year of intense travel, I keep getting the question, “What was your favorite city?” There is no easy answer. So many places were amazing. Other places were hard to visit, but incredibly rewarding. And then there were the places that I loved, but that I have visited before. Not included are the amazing places that Jeremy visited without me (his decisions for this list would be much harder than mine!). But, which cities deserve a spot on my top 10? Probably a lot more than are here.
1. Dunedin, New Zealand
Hands down, my personal favorite location of the year was Dunedin, New Zealand. We decided to do a farm stay, so our morning started with a delicious farm breakfast with an amazing view.
Then we watched a wonderful sheepdog demonstration.
And were even able to participate in sheep shearing! Oh what delight!
Next up was a picnic at the beach.
This was followed by an afternoon exploring the city, including a stop at the Toitu Otaga Settlers Museum. The Cadbury Factory was closed, or we would have visited that as well.
What an amazing day! I definitely could have added at least one more day to our time here, and could probably even spend a year or two!
2. Sorrento, Italy
Sorrento, Italy, was a very close second. Can I just say that I love lemons? I eat them like oranges, I make lemonade with them, I drizzle my fish with delicious lemon butter sauce, I even love them on Bertucci’s Silano Pizza. Sorrento is all about lemons. There are entire stores (yes, that is plural) dedicated to lemons. I seriously considered buying a lemon dress, a lemon purse, and lemon earrings. Wouldn’t that have been fun to walk around in?
We also took a cooking class, which was quite fun. I can now make amazingly delicious gnocchi. All you need is a potato ricer and the proper flour, “00” flour, which a friend found at Whole Foods. We later did a side by side comparison test with all-purpose flour and the difference was stunning!
3. Kitzbühel, Austria
I love the alps. We have often travelled to the Jungfrau region of Switzerland, but this year we decided to try something different. Kitzbühel, Austria, didn’t disappoint!
Amazing hiking trails.
And a nice town with gorgeous views.
4. Lviv, Ukraine
It was tough to decide whether I liked Lviv or Kiev better. On the one hand, Kiev is the capital of Ukraine and has more impressive sights: cathedrals, museums, etc. On the other hand, Lviv is considered the cultural capital, is smaller, and has a more relaxed and intimate feel. Given that rest and casual enjoyment were my goals at this point in our trip, I decided to go with Lviv for my top 10 cities.
Beyond just a super cute downtown, there are zillions of tiny churches and museums to pop into.
Plus there is lots of green space and nice overlooks.
And when you get tired, there are tons of inexpensive restaurants and cafes to pop into.
I was surprised by how much I loved Israel. Deciding which place in Israel was my favorite was tough. The whole country is covered with important Biblical sights, but from a cultural standpoint, Jerusalem is above and beyond anywhere else in Israel. Staying in the Old City was a delight, as was wandering the streets that Jesus wandered.
Due to arrival timing on our first day, we decided to head out a bit and focus on the Mount of Olives.
On our second day, we took a Holy City Tour and explored the Old City. If your arrival times work out, this is ideal as a first day activity. The evening was spent in the New City.
On our third day, we spent more time in the Old City, focusing more on the city walls and the Via Dolorosa, or the Way of the Cross, and seeing nearby sights. Again, we went to the Old City for the evening.
Our last day gave us a perfect opportunity to day trip to Bethlehem. Make sure you check out the safety situation before you decided to do this.
To Be Continued…
And you can find my next 5 cities in a future post!